Hardie board - painting, nails, caulk

My family is starting to build a house. We have pretty much settled on Hardie board for the outside. The builder gave us an estimate of $26,000 to paint the exterior (which seems high to me). Although we found a color of Hardie board that we like, he says you still have to paint it - a primer and two coats. He says that if you don't paint it, the nails and caulk in the gap between the ends of the boards will show.
How bad would it look if the nails and caulk aren't painted?
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It'll look like absolute crap if you don't paint the nails and caulk.
However, you should look up Hardie's spec's on paint and caulk. The information is available on the internet. It has been 6 months since we had Hardie's shake product installed on our house, so I'm a bit fuzzy on the specifics, but I'm about 98% sure you don't need to prime since the product comes primed from the factory. You do need to caulk. I don't remember that 2 coats of paint are required, but good coverage is required. Again, look at Hardie's website to be sure...

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On Wed, 19 Apr 2006 22:10:22 -0400, "Kyle Boatright"

Their FAQ says that you don't have to paint it, and can choose their ColorPlus. But that might be if you aren't too concerned with the looks. http://www.jameshardie.com/homeowner/faq/default.php#4
They have a PrimePlus, which is primed at the factory: http://www.jameshardie.com/homeowner/technical/paintingtips.php
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One Hardie person repeatedly answered my email question "How long will it last if it isn't painted?" by saying it's only guaranteed if painted within 6 months, they've never tested it without paint, and so on.
Another guy at their toll free number said it is somewhat porous to water and if it's unpainted it may be damaged by freezing and thawing and water that seeps through to the other side may damage whatever is underneath.
Nick
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have you looked into getting color matched caulk? i've used certainteed fiber cement which comes with color matched caulk and touch up paint. the only nails that should show are in the uppermost course..the rest should be blind nailed.
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